Edinburgh Fringe 2014
An hour of soulful, reflective jazz that guarantees you’ll end up feeling as laid back as the trio playing it.
To the peace and tranquillity of St Mark’s Artspace, a venue that consistently pulls the rabbit out of the proverbial hat when it comes to music. This time is no exception, with the jazz trio that is Give Take giving their own unique take on composer/pianist Andrew Morris’ musical interpretation of the Bach Flower Remedies. Ably assisting Morris was Sam Howell on double bass but stealing the limelight with some evocative, mellifluous soprano and alto sax playing was Theo Jobts, a musician clearly heading for stardom.
Dr Edward Bach put together a series of remedies in the early part of the 20th Century that are somewhere on the spectrum between homeopathy and (one suspects) pure placebo. Each flower extract is targeted at a particular negative emotion with the aim of reversing its polarity. So, for example, extract of beech aims to turn intolerance to tolerance, gorse despair into hope and so on.
Andrew Morris has taken each of these remedies and set them to music, mixing jazz and blues with some classical twists. Time (regrettably) did not permit a rendition of all thirty eight pieces composed by Morris, but we had a selection from the twelve healers, seven helpers and nineteen remaining remedies. My particular favourite was honeysuckle with its evocations of nostalgia or creating joyous harmony from past recollections, as Morris put it succinctly in his introduction.
We had clematis (turning day dreaming to creativity), crab apple (transforming self-doubt to self-assuredness), wild oat (helping you find your true direction) and a range of other pieces, each different in style, tempo and tone but each played with thought, precision and real emotion.
Some people are sceptical about the efficacy of herbal or homeopathic remedies as there is little empirical evidence that they offer a statistically significant improvement in health over the traditional baseline placebo. But there is growing evidence of the emotional healing powers of music, whether sung, played or listened to.
This hour of soulful, reflective jazz certainly soothed my emotions – I ended up feeling as laid back as the trio looked and sounded. So anyone in search of an hour of reflective entertainment is well advised to hot foot it down to St Mark’s to listen to one of the best jazz trios at this year’s Fringe. And they definitely get an innovation award for their flyers – a collector’s set of all thirty-eight remedies. See if you can find them all.